Venom, very much like the evil space symbiote of the same name, is quite powerful. Akasa's Venom is definitely an enthusiast grade heatsink. It is quite large, weighing 805g and measuring 120mm x 96mm x 160mm.
The Akasa Venom is of similar design to a lot of high quality heatsinks. It has a large block of aluminium fins with 4 doubled over copper heatpipes running through its base. The base is aluminium, but the copper heatpipes are exposed instead of embedded in a solid block. It comes with a 120mm fan and some of Akasa's special white thermal paste.
This style of base plate gets the copper heatpipes in direct contact with the cpu, hopefully improving their ability to move heat. The base is surprisingly straight and flat, which can be a bit of a challenge when the base is not a solid block. I could detect almost no concavity or convexity in the base of the Venom. The base does not appear particularly shiny, though it is very smooth. It has tiny gaps between the heatpipes and the aluminium block. This is worrying since it could affect the thermal conductivity. Luckily the tests seems to show that it was not a major problem for the Venom.
The cooler is compatible with Intel socket 775/1156/1366 and AMD socket 754/939/940/AM2/AM2+/AM3 processors. The cooler was fairly frustrating for me to install. In order to support the massive weight of the Venom, Akasa provided special backplates for your motherboard. Some cases have a hole in them to make replacing the standard backplate easier, but my current case does not. This meant that I had to completely remove my motherboard to install the Venom. The Venom comes with one 120mm x120mm x 25mm fan. The fan is attached to the heatsink by some little yellow rubber strings that are supposed to help dampen the motion of the fan. Akasa provided extra yellow pins so that a second fan can be mounted if you need additional airflow.
The fan has been designed to be quiet, while still providing good airflow. It uses a hydrodynamic bearing, which tend to be quieter than ball bearings. For those of you that like to be able to see into your computer, you should be happy to hear that the cooler looks very nice. The top of the heatsink is black and yellow, with a picture of a cobra. The fan also looks nice, though I find that color of yellow to be a bit bright for my tastes.
Ok, time to get down to the important stuff. How well does it work? Well let's look at the numbers. The cpu that the tests were run on is a Phenom X3 2.7 ghz with the fourth core unlocked and all four cores overclocked to 3.0Ghz. When running idle in a room of roughly 27°C, the cpu is a steady 35°C. Total system noise while idle was roughly 40 Db at a distance of 1 foot. Though a little on the loud side, this has to do with the other fans in the system and the Venom fan is running at its full 1900 rpm. I found that the fan can be pulled back to around 1200rpm. This reduces the noise considerably and only causes a few degrees of extra heat. When all four cpu's are maxed out using HyperPi, the temperature seems to top out at 40 °C. This is a very strong performance considering how quietly it runs.
The Akasa Venom is a good heatsink. If you can take a little bit of noise, running the fan at 1900 rpm provides enough more than enough cooling. If you run the fan a bit slower, the Akasa Venom provides decent cooling at a very small noise cost. I think the only complaint I have of the Akasa Venom is that it was a bit frustrating to install. Even that was not that bad and even if it were, you only have to install it once. I would recommend this cooler to anyone who needs a bit more cooling in their system.